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Spiritual Power Tools – The Tongue

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 14, 2009


Previous post

You know what the most powerful tool in the possession of the human is? It’s the tongue.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the tongue, pound for pound is the strongest muscle in the body. God is very concerned that we learn to control it, because he calls it the least controllable part of the human body.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. (James 3:5-10)

Can’t really add much more to James’ statement. The tongue is a powerful force to be controlled for sure.

The tongue can also be a powerful force of good.  It is a spiritual weapon that makes a connection from you to the spirit world.  Think about it.  With the tongue, you speak words of prayer and talk with the creator of the universe.  It is your direct connect to God.

Beyond prayer though, the tongue can be a power force of victory in your life.

The Tongue Used as a Source of blessing.

Blessing is a spiritual force that is activated through the power of the tongue.  The blessing is so powerful in fact, that the list of people in Hebrews 11 with “great faith” contains two people only recorded because they blessed their children (Issac and Jacob).

In fact, after the flood, Noah blessed two sons and cursed one and the power of those blessings and curses lives on today.

The Tongue Used in the Power of Confession

Confession is the power of release.  When you confess your sins at salvation, you are freed from sin.  When you confess your sins to one another, you free yourself of guilt and chains of bondage and restore relationships.

Confession to one another does three things:

  1. It opens up an avenue of accountability to one another.
  2. It brings into the light sins that are hidden.  (Satan works in the dark, and when you expose your sin, it can’t fester as well.)
  3. It heals.  When you confess a sin you committed against someone to that person, you work toward rebuilding that relationship.

Remember though, that only God can forgive sins.  Only the person you sin against has the power to forgive you of that sin.  Only God can forgive sins against him.

There are many evils that come from the power of the tongue – gossip, slander, malice, cursing, hate, envy, etc.  They are all powerful and must be contained.  So instead of allowing the tongue to destroy, learn how to use it for good through confession and blessing, through prayer and worship, through teaching and loving.

Most of our problems begin and end with the tongue.  It might just prove best if they never start there in the first place.

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Prayer the Nehemiah Way, Part 3 of 8

Posted by undergroundchurch on August 30, 2009


See Part 2
 

The Prayer:

Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. (4:4,5)

When Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), I think he was thinking of a prayer just like this.

One thing you will notice about Nehemiah is that he knew he was walking into a very dangerous situation when he traveled back to Jerusalem.  There were people in the land that wanted to stop any rebuilding of Jerusalem.  They would taunt the workers day and night, but there were some things you notice in Nehemiah that are critical to understanding Jesus message.

First, Nehemiah expressed his anger toward his enemies to God.  It is not easy to come right out and “love” your enemy.  By its very definition, this is not possible.  However, what Nehemiah does is direct his anger toward God.  He doesn’t carry out anger on his enemy.  This is essential to a good witness.  How can you tell someone about the love of God when you are expressing anger and hate?

David did this quite often.  He would be abused by his enemies and then take that anger to God.  When he later encountered his enemies, he took mercy on them.  Had he not directed his anger to God, he may have sinned by doing something to his enemies that would displease God.

When you get angry, don’t sin (See Ephesian 4:26).  Remember that prayer is simply conversations with God.  That is what you need to have so that God can relieve you of the anger and let you see more clearly.

Finally, he leaves the judgment of his enemies to God alone.  This is important.  You do not have the right as a believer to carry out judgment on others.  It is God’s to avenge.  It is also perfectly fine for you to acknowledge to God that you’d like Him to avenge.  This is not contrary to the “pray for those that persecute you”, it is simply being honest.

You may also want to include prayers like, “forgive me for my anger”, “help me love my enemy”, and others similar to this if you find yourself praying for vengence.

Certainly the goal of a believer is to mature, and as you do, you will find that your enemies have less impact on your spiritual well-being.  David late in his life actually passed by one of his enemies as insults were being hurled at him.  He calmly let it happen even supposing that they could be words from God to keep him humble (2 Samuel 16:5-14).  When reading stories about David like that, keep in mind that God considered him a man after his own heart.

So in short, don’t take matters into your own hands with your enemies and those that want to hurt you; go to God first, release your frustration, ask for a change of heart and react with the wisdom God gives you.

See Part 4

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The Greatest Description of Jesus: Part 1 of 4

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 13, 2009


Philippians 2 is my favorite chapter in the second half of the Bible because it is an illustration given by Paul, which turns out to be the greatest description of Jesus in the Bible.  I want to explore it over the course of the next few posts.

Read the whole chapter HERE.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: (vs. 1-5)

 This is the story behind the illustration Paul is about to give.  The goal Paul is seeking is that the church would be “Like-minded”.  The like mindedness is based on your condition in Christ (e.g. encouragement from being united, comforted by His love, fellowship with the Spirit, tenderness and compassion). Here’s the outline of Paul’s desire for the believer in being like minded.

  1. Same Love – We may have different approaches to methodology, but we are of the same source of Love.  Agape type love is the strongest love in the universe.  It is not dependent on feelings, but is selfless, loving others even when you feel they don’t deserve it. Jesus did it for you, you have no right not to love others in the same way.
  2. One in Spirit and Purpose– (lit. one mind of understanding) This spirit is not the “Holy Spirit”, but represents being on the same playing field in the spiritual understanding within each and every one of us.  We are three part beings – body, soul and spirit.  The spirit is the foundation of the person and if we aren’t unified here, the rest of our unity will crumble.
  3. Don’t function with selfish ambition – The word is erithia, which means “electioneering”. It is a political word that has come to define the cut-throat life of politics.  The believer’s attitude has no room for electioneering.  Churches that play this game, are not exhibiting a Christ-like attitude.
  4. Don’t have vain conceit – Literally, “empty-glory” – We like to be recognized for accomplishments, but when that attitude consumes us, we begin to take glory for things we really don’t have anything to do with.  When we take glory, God doesn’t get it.  But when we direct glory to God, it reflects back to us.  Empty glory leaves God out of the loop. Fulfilling glory focuses on Him.
  5. Humbly consider others better than yourself–  This humility is a “modest consideration of one’s own self”, literally, “low-hearted”. Christ was one of the most meek and humble individuals to walk the planet.  He had every reason to consider himself something special, but it was his heart’s desire only to bring glory to God.  John the Baptist understood this when he said, “[Jesus] must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30).  Jesus echoed that with his Father (John 8:12-30).  A good acronym is JOY (J)esus first, (O)thers second (Y)ourself last.
  6. Look to other’s interest first – He is not saying to neglect your things, he is saying that you have to consider others needs equal to your own.  This is hardest of all because we are selfish by nature, but through Christ, even this is possible.

All of these are examples of the attitude the Christ has.  If we are “Christians”, then we are to be “Christ Like” (that’s what that word means).  Therefore, if you want to be Christ Like, then these seven attitudes need to be adopted as your attitudes.

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Some Great Old Routines

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 11, 2009


I grew up listening to a group called Isaac Air Freight.  They had some great routines.  I since lost the albums, but I found the routines on Youtube the other day.  They are only audio, but that was how they were intended. They are good, even today. Hope you enjoy.

You can see more at the source in Youtube by clicking HERE.

Blessings

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A Martyr’s Death

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 22, 2009


Neda Soultan is becoming a historic icon through nothing that she did, only what was done to her.

Her fame has swept the world as today’s Iranian symbol for freedom. I’m sure that she did not travel into that street thinking that she could be anybody.  She probably had no ambitions of her own to think she could ever lead a revolution. However, her innocent demeanor has landed her on the front pages of a nation’s revolution, and her tragic death by the bullet of a soldier has fueled an entire nation’s rally cry. She is and forever shall be – a martyr for the cause.

Martyrs have always been a catalyst for revolution throughout history.  The word for martyr comes from the Greek and it means “witness”.  Their deaths testify or are witness to some cause, situation or movement and empower people to do more, be more and overcome more.

Most martyrs die never even expecting or possibly imagining the symbolism they would personify. Nevertheless, timing, circumstance and fate expands their seemingly small sphere of influence to a world changing stage.

Some martyrs, like Neda, are unwilling participants that become a symbol; others become a martyr because their passion and drive put them in situations that brought about sheer risk.  Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example of this.  He exposed himself to danger, but it was not his intent to die. He had a passion, a drive and a dream, but they did not including becoming a martyr.  That was for the rest of us to decide.

Still there is a level of martyrdom that even goes beyond this. It is where a cause or purpose is so important that death itself is possibly a byproduct for your belief.  Many people around the world die for a cause because they believe in something. 

Though he did not die that day, “tank man” became a symbol for the freedom in China that fateful day in Tienanmen Square where many others were massacred.

 He simply stood there knowing that it could very well be his last moments of life.  He didn’t really stand a chance against four tanks, but he was going to do everything in his power to make his belief made known to those who would try to kill him.

From a biblical point, Stephen was this type of martyr. He stood before the leaders of the Jews of his day who were accusing him, and testified of Jesus. He knew, as many others who were tossed to lions, burned on stakes and skinned alive, that his words could very well be his last. In fact, Paul the apostle, at that time called Saul, held the coats of the people that murdered Stephen giving his approval.

As powerful as the faith based martyrdom is, there is another more powerful and potent martyrdom that lasts beyond death.

This martyrdom isn’t about ideologies or belief systems, it is not about politics, movements or fate.  This martyrdom is about one thing only… Love.

This is the martyrdom that Jesus says is the greatest love that any person can show another person, “That you lay your life down for your friends.” (John 15:13) This description of perfect love comes right after he challenges his disciples to “love each other as I (Jesus) have loved you”.  He not only tells them to love each other, but he shows them how to do it by laying his own life down for them, you, me and everyone in between through his voluntary death on a cross.

The famous scripture posted at every sporting even (John 3:16) tells the whole story of the love of God.  He loved us, not just in word, not just in life, not just in healing a few people, not just in preaching a good message, making bread out of nothing, turning water into wine, or even creating the heavens and earth.  He loved us “so much”, the verse says, “that he gave us his only son” to die for us, that if we “believe on Him, we will have life everlasting.”

You can tell me you love me, you can write it down, you can live it out, you can do everything for me to show you love me now, but when you die for me, you are showing me that your love is not constrained by our temporal existence, your love is for now and forever and that you are willing to give it all to prove it. That is what Jesus did for you.

He was the greatest martyr the world has ever known.

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The Immanuel Project: Chapter 4: Blending the Spiritual and the Physical

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 22, 2009


 Click here for Chapter 3 

When we think in terms of the physical world, we usually think materialistically.  Scientists describe our universe as multi-dimensional.  There are the three dimensions of space, the dimension of time, physical properties of gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces.  These are things that we can perceive and touch.  We know them.  We are familiar with their effects. We base our beliefs on our understanding of the physical world. The bottom line… if it doesn’t fit in our understanding of the universe, then it can’t possibly be true.

Scientists are actually discovering that our universe has at least eleven dimensions to it.  Much of this is “unknowable” currently.

Any way you look at it, the physical universe is huge, but there is a world even larger – the Spiritual world. 

The spiritual universe is a much larger domain than we give it credit.  God, the angels, demons and Satan operate primarily in this world.  Good and evil, sin and love abide in this world along with things that man cannot even utter[i] The physical world in which we live is not separate from the spiritual world but a part of the spiritual world – albeit a very small part. 

Which do you think came first, the spiritual world or the physical world? 

According to the creation account, God made the three components of our universe in the beginning.  In Genesis 1:1, 3, God creates matter, space, time and energy. “In the beginning (time), God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). God said, let there be light (energy) and there was light”

God did all of this from the “spiritual world”.  God had to actually create the space in which everything in the physical world exists.  Laws were set up at the beginning that made this physical universe work.  Gravity keeps the planets close to the sun, light keeps everything alive on the earth, etc.

We know many of the physical laws that govern our world, i.e. gravity, time, space, etc.  We are bound by these laws in our physical universe.  However, these laws do not apply to the spiritual world.  In the spiritual world, there is no time, space, gravity that we can define, but somehow things that happen in our world affect the spiritual world. 

Did you realize that the act of disobedience by Adam and Eve in this physical world initiated the seed of sin in man that would cause every person ever born of man to be born into sin?[ii]  Our physical world and the spiritual world are connected.  Sin is a spiritual property with physical symptoms.  God said to Adam, “In the day you eat of [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] you will die.”[iii] The act of spiritual sin brought the result of physical death.

Likewise, events that happen in the spiritual world directly impact the physical universe.  The spiritual laws of sowing and reaping[iv] cannot be tied to any physical property.  Jesus said, “You will reap what you sow.” This happens because the spiritual law applies to physical actions.  God even tells us to test out this law and see if he doesn’t bless you. [v]

One of the Ten Commandments comes with a physical promise.  “Respect you father and mother – God, your God, commands it! You’ll have a long life; the land that God is giving you will treat you well.”[vi]

How can you attribute long life to obeying your parents?  I know what you’re thinking, “You didn’t know my parents.  If we disobeyed, they’d kill us.”  Perhaps, but the principle addressed here is a spiritual blessing that affects a physical property.

Even the simple act of blessing and curses can have a profound physical impact on people.  They are sounds uttered that can physically encourage or destroy even those that did not even hear the blessing. 

Isaac and Jacob are remembered for their faith, not because of some act they performed, but because they spoke spiritual words of blessing over their kids believing that generations later, those words would be true.  The surprising thing is that they did come true.

I love how the Message version reads in Hebrews 11:20 and 21, “By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau. By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own–as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.”

They reached into the future in their blessing.  Words get their power because they are so closely tied to the spiritual world.  In fact, every word you utter is recorded in the spiritual world by God and you will be held accountable.[vii]

Words are what we use to communicate with the spiritual world.  The function of words operates on sound waves, but it’s not the sound that causes communication; it is the understanding.

Our prayers offered to the Lord are done upon the wings of words.  It’s the transport system that God established to reach into the spiritual world and communicate with the creator of the universe. 

Jesus tells us that we are not to live only on physical matter (bread) but on spiritual food (Words of God)[viii]

In our world, words don’t mean what they used to mean. Once upon a time, a man’s word was his bond.  Today, you need 300 page contracts with signatures and initials on every page in order to carry out a transaction.  On top of that you have fine print, hidden clauses, and addendums.  The words used are only legible to a select group of individuals called lawyers.

But in God’s eyes, the testimony of two or three witnesses establishes a matter.[ix]  Words still mean things with God.  They are so valuable, in fact, that He sent the portion of the Godhead known as the “Word” to our world in the form of Jesus.

Think about that.  Jesus is the Word of God.  Everything God has uttered is wrapped up in this part of God.  How awesome is that?

Think of Jesus as the verbal contract of God with man.  When Jesus succeeded in his earthly journey and climaxed it on the cross, God was essentially signing His verbal contract with man in the blood of His Son.  It cannot get any more powerful than that.

So what do I mean when I say, blending the physical and spiritual?

To better explain this, I am going to use the illustration of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Simply put this is the field of energy in the universe that gives us light in its various forms. The only real difference between the different types of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum is the wave length. 

If I have lost you, let’s try it this way.  Visible light is the light you see made up of the colors of the rainbow – violet through red.  What you can’t see in the light spectrum is everything to the left of violet where the waves get further apart (i.e. ultra-violet, X-rays, Gamma Rays) and everything to the right of red where the waves get closer together (i.e. infrared, radar, FM Radio waves, Television waves, shortwave, AM radio waves, etc.)  Although all these items exist in the same electromagnetic spectrum, you can’t see them.  You can only see a very small portion of the whole spectrum – namely visible light.

You can only see the influence of an AM radio by capturing the electromagnetic waves using a tool called a radio.  This gadget is specifically designed to capture and send waves of energy through the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves are all around you everywhere you go, but you can’t see them until you turn on your radio.

In a similar way, our physical universe is actually part of a larger spiritual universe.  We can’t see into the rest of the spiritual universe without some sort of tool – i.e. prayer, the bible, etc. 

Man is drawn to this spiritual universe because man is part spiritual creature as much as he is a physical creation.  Since man decided to walk away from God, he has tried every sort of tool to contact the spiritual world.  Witchcraft, horoscopes, astral projection, Hinduism, etc. are all created by man to reach into the spiritual world and somehow grasp this larger universe.  The sad truth is that it accomplishes that feat.  However, the contact with the spiritual world is not controlled by God, but by every evil force that resides in the spiritual world. 

God never forbid us to contact the spiritual world, He just said, “There is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”[x]  God provided us with two basic tools to communicate with the spiritual world – the Bible and prayer through Jesus.  The person we are to contact in the spiritual world is specifically defined, “You shall have no other God before me”[xi]

In fact, God encourages us to spend as much time as possible in contact with the spiritual world.  He tells us to be filled with the Spirit of God.[xii] We need to fast and pray and spend time in the Word.  We need to devote ourselves to God wholeheartedly.

The spiritual and physical worlds are interconnected and God designed it that way. 

Have you ever wondered why God sent Jesus into this world to die for our sins?  Couldn’t God have just rewritten the contract in heaven and be done with it?  If sin is a spiritual matter, couldn’t it have been taken care of in the spiritual world alone?

The short answer is, “No.”

There were spiritual laws and penalties to sin that had to be accounted for.  God doesn’t “cook the books”.  He doesn’t make accounting errors.  Everything must be addressed.  Every dime must be accounted for.  The wage for sin is death.[xiii]

Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no freedom from sin.  A price must be paid and it couldn’t happen in the spiritual world because God can’t die.

How then do you overcome this dilemma?  How does a God that can’t die, die?

That’s where the physical world comes in.  If God could totally take on the elements that would confine him to the physical universe he could tie himself to humanity by making himself human – fully man.  If this can be accomplished, then He could die.  But how do you do this?

God had a plan from the beginning to come into this world in such a way that the sin in this world would not corrupt Him and in a way that would make sure that He was fully man and therefore able to die.

 


[i] 2 Corinthians 12:3,4

[ii] Romans 3:23

[iii] Genesis 2:17

[iv] Galatians 6:7

[v] Malachi 3:10

[vi] Deuteronomy 5:16 (MSG)

[vii] Matthew 12:36

[viii] Matthew 4:4

[ix] Matthew 18:16

[x] 1 Timothy 2:5

[xi] Deuteronomy 5:7

[xii] Ephesians 5:18

[xiii] Romans 6:23

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What is Your Purpose Statement?

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 26, 2009


One of the goal setting techniques “self-improvement” instructors tell their students is to set goals. When setting goals, don’t set them too high, too far out or too unrealistic. Set your goals in phases – short-term and long-term. Set limits (very important), and establish general timeframes.

I’m not a huge fan of “self-improvement” thinking, but I will say that setting a “Purpose Statement” for your life is a good one because… well, God established it first.

Today’s Biblegateway scripture is John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

This scripture is very important for us now because it is the current goal God set for Jesus. We know that there are other tasks and goals that have been achieved and will be achieved by Jesus, but for now, this is His purpose statement.

Look at some of Jesus’ past and current goals

  • Creation of the universe and specifically, the earth and man
  • Establishment of a tabernacle that pre-figured his coming ministry on earth
  • Fulfillment of hundreds of prophetic statements while on earth
  • His successful journey to the cross
  • His establishment as the savior
  • Obtaining a name above all names with power and dominion

These are all important, but are in no way the end. He has some long-term goals that are yet to come to pass.

  • He will return with a sword in judgment of the world. In other words, he will one day come to condemn the world; He didn’t do it the first time He came because He had to first come as savior king.
  • He will rule with an iron scepter.
  • He will destroy and rebuild heaven and earth.
  • He will establish a kingdom that will never end from the New Jerusalem.

These goals are yet to be accomplished, but if His track record is any indication, there is no doubt that He will be successful.

So what about you? What goals have you set – both long and short term?

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What is it with men and tears?

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 18, 2009


Last night I was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  This is never a good idea for me because I usually start tearing up 5 minutes into the show and don’t stop until it’s over. Unfortunately for me, it was a 2-hour special.

To be honest, I am a very emotional person.  I trend in my emotions toward an empathetic style of emotion because I feel people’s pains and joys.  This stems from a mindset that is very “visually” oriented.  I can look at a single photo and draw out a thousand emotions; on the flip-side, I can read a book and only get a couple. This might explain why I got more out of comics than books growing up and why I can watch silent movies and enjoy them.

Usually when I start my tearfest during a show, my kids start making their typical comments that begin with the question, “Dad, are you crying again?”

I have come to accept my emotional side as a fact of my life, and after two hours flowing tears last night, and with the burning sensation on my cheeks from the salt, I got to thinking, “Why do men have such a problem with crying?  And why is it that so many people can’t place ‘manliness’ and’crying’ in the same person?”

Don’t get me wrong; there are a handful of times that men are allowed to cry without diminishing their “manhood”… the birth of child, the death of family member and the championship victory of their favorite sports team, so why are other male displays of tearful emotion taboo?

I am at a point in my life where I am no longer ashamed of my tears and instead find myself defending my empathetic emotion.  I know that in the “old days” it wasn’t “manly” to cry at all, but I can show you that in even older days, empathetic tears were honorable.

Take King David for example.  This man of God… a man God called a person “after God’s own heart” cried constantly.  His songs we call psalms, dug deep into his emotional side and revealed a heart that is full of passion, joy, anger, love, despair and humility.  In fact, when you look at his life, the more humble he was, the more tears he shed. 

Humility is a dimension of the human psyche where the barriers to protect one’s own self are broken down and there is open access to the innermost being.  God wants this from his people because it allows him access to who we are, not the false facade we throw up in front of mankind.

Jesus wept several times.  If Jesus can weep, it is obviously a manly expression.  He wept for a city that rejected him; he wept for a family that lost their son (Lazarus); he wept in the garden for his own life and the ordeal he was about to go through on the Cross for our very salvation. Weeping is a connection to the soul of man.

So men, next time you feel that swelling of emotion that can bring forth a tear, don’t hold it back.  Use it as a teaching moment. Your children may laugh now, but one day they will look back and see that you, sir, are an emotional being that can be humble and exposed and still be a man.

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A Fair and Balanced Gospel – We preach, You decide

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 2, 2009


I’m stealing this title from Fox News, and I think we the church need to take our cues from this philosophy.

The purpose of the Bible is to present a true and accurate depiction of God’s interaction with humanity.  In it we see his love, holiness, kindness and justice.  Someone reading it might even think they are seeing mixed messages – how can a loving God let evil reign or send down judgments on the human race, or my favorite, how can a loving God send people to Hell?

Part of the confusion is found in how the church understands the balanced nature of God. God does not change, he is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The God of the Old Testament is alive and well today.  The question is how do we reconcile this in our hearts.

I have listened to many sermons in my life and watched the evolution of teaching in the church throughout the years.  Two hundred years ago in the holiness movement, the messages were more about repentance and righteousness than the love of God. 

A hundred years ago, the messages evolved into the movement of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fifty years ago, they translated into a global outreach with crusades, evangelism and building the church body through salvation of the world. 

Thirty years ago, a movement known as the “Jesus movement” began a transition the church into seeing God as a loving savior and deserving of our worship – accepting of anyone and everyone. 

Twenty years ago the church began to be marred in the eyes of the world through pride, and in some ways sort of lost its identity.  It began concentrating on building big churches, programs and other off message works.  

Each era of the church tended to concentrate on one side of God with an emphasis toward one characteristic or another. Today, I would say that as a whole, the church is floating.  There is a movement within it to move, but complacency runs amok and it’s going to take a change of heart to get it going.  A sign of the times is that many in the church feel that we are ok and that there is nothing really wrong, but  we have lost our relevance. Just lookat society around us.  We used to set the tone for society, now our voices are ridiculed as intolerant when the opposite is true. 

The question is where will the church go?  What will the church of the next decade look like?

For all my criticism of the current situation within the church, I am exceedingly optimistic and excited for its future.  The church is the tool Jesus is going to use to change the world, and it is going to go through a dramatic transformation to get there.

I have spent some time studying the rising movement within the church, I want to give a glimpse of where I feel the church will transition.

First, the church will balance its teaching.  The most prevalent teaching in the church today is about the goodness of God, the love of God and the mercy of God.  These are all good and true, but like the generations of the past, they look at God rather one sided.  The next transformation will be in the balance of teaching.  It will be a culmination of the last 200 years of church history with a flavor of first century methodology.  It will be strong in every area by balancing the love of God and the fear of God, balancing the mercy of God with the justice of God. 

Second, it will see salvations like never before that really impact those being saved through real repentance, change and power.  No longer will we just pray a prayer from the stage and leave it at that.  You will see people broken before God in their salvation experience.  They will not be getting saved on Sunday mornings only, but throughout the week.  Believers will be sharing the good news of Jesus with those in their workplace, grocery stores and restaurants and witnessing transformations that turn people from their sin and empower them to chase after God – an element lacking in many being saved today.

Third, you will see a fear of God arise that will drive believers to powerful prayer.  The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is not the kind of fear you experience going to a horror  movie, it is the understanding that God is everything and you are nothing.  It is knowing that this God who loves you cannot let sin abide in his presence.  The believer will no longer live two lives – one of sin and one of Sunday morning facades. Holiness will be a sign of the believer’s life.

Fourth, you will see the gifts of God explode in the church.  Gifts that far too many in church believe are extinct will rise to a prominent state.  Miracle, signs and wonders will happen in fulfillment of Jesus’ own words in ways that have never occurred in common man.  The power of the Holy Spirit will empower the believer with all boldness, fruits and gifts necessary to usher in day of the Lord.

Fifth, Sunday is not going to be enough.  Like the first century church, the place to be will be with fellow believers.  You will begin meeting daily together because you will find that Jesus is showing up every time you get together.  Home churches, fellowships and just get togethers for prayer, teaching and worship will be in every neighborhood.  The church will blend into the lives of people and not be relegated to a building.

Finally, (and I’m sure there are more) the church will make an impact once again. Make no mistake, the world will hate the church more and more as we stand in righteousness, but the mercy of Jesus will shine through us as we reach out to meet the needs of the downtrodden.  We won’t be just about ourselves; we will have most of our ministries focused on those outside of our local churches where it should be. 

Ever notice that Jesus ministry was mostly to those that weren’t following him? He simply taught those following him, but to those that weren’t he healed, fed and brought the good news. 

Our preamble will be something like this… 

We the church, in order to form a more perfect union in Christ, will establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense of the Gospel, promote general welfare of the downtrodden, and secure the blessing of liberty in Christ  for ourselves and those living around us, to ordain and establish this Gospel of Jesus Christ for the people of the world.

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The Power of Blessing

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 19, 2009


Everyone likes to be blessed.  Our human nature craves “self-satisfaction”; this is the core of wanting to receive a blessing. That desire to be blessed, though not evil in and of itself, not only brought into humanity the first sin through Adam but is also the very design of man by the will of God that we would seek blessing in a way that honors God.

God gave us the freedom to chose, and that freedom is powered by “self”. The “what’s in it for me” part of every one of us that yearns for reward and blessing.

God does love to bless his people.  In fact, he want to do this more than even the most “positive thinking” crowd can fathom.  However, the way he brings about blessing in this world is very unique.  He wants us to learn to bless each other and when we do this, we will be blessed in return.

We receive blessings from God directly quite a bit more than we are willing to admit.  In fact, we chalk a lot of his blessings up to our own good fortune, hard work or other grand accomplishment.  We miss understand the source of our blessing and thus rob God of the glory due him.

These blessings from God are difficult to trace because God does not walk around and physically hand out blessings.  We can’t see, touch, smell or feel him, although we often recognize his handy work.  I think it is for this reason that we don’t recognize when God blesses us.

That’s where we come in.  God has called us to be a blessing to others.  We are not to sit back and wait for blessings to come to us, we are to bestow blessings on others.  The power of the blessing is not in the receiving of the blessing but in the giving of the blessing.  It is a spiritual law based on the principle of sowing and reaping that is as real as the law of gravity.

You will reap what you sow. 

Many times the reaping comes back to you in the same form as it was sown, but other times it comes in ways that we least would expect.

The power of the blessing is that when you bless someone else, it comes back to you in a greater form.  Blessing is not a zero-sum game.  You don’t give something to someone else and lose it, you end up gaining.  The spiritual law of sowing and reaping says that you will gain more than you give.  This is a concept the world cannot understand because it does not fit into our understanding of the physical world.

Many things Jesus did do not fit into our physical world mindset.  Walking on water is not something that you can repeat in this physical world without overcoming some physical laws against you – gravity, density, viscosity, etc.  But somehow Jesus was able to trump a physical law by using spiritual laws. 

The physical realm, though very real to us, is but a small part in a much larger spiritual realm.  I like to explain it this way:

The spiritual world is like the electromagnetic spectrum electromagnetic-spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum consists of a variety of different qualities; the difference between each is simply the wavelength.

In it you have gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, microwaves, radio waves, etc.  Each of these exist all around you, but you can’t see them, feel them or touch them. Radio waves for example are blasting through your house right now from TV and radio stations, wifi, cell phones, etc.  But you are never really aware of their presence.

But there is one small sliver of the vast electromagnetic spectrum that we hang our very existence on – visible light.  this visible light from the red to the violet is all that we can physically see, but it is only a part of a vast world.

The physical world we live in is only a small sliver in a vast spiritual world.  We can’t see the spiritual world around us, which is a good thing, because it would be like seeing all those radio waves around us.  We would quickly become overwhelmed.

The spiritual world has laws that trump the physical world.  For example, God operates outside of time and space.  Matter does not influence him.  He can also see both the beginning and the end at the same time.  We can’t comprehend that because our vantage point is within the very small sliver of the spiritual world call the physical world.

What does this have to do with blessing? 

When you bless someone, you operate in a method that is rooted not in physical properties, but in spiritual properties.  Blessing touches a vein of the spiritual world that trumps the physical limitations of our existence. 

When you bless another person, you are able to return a blessing to yourself because that process is governed by spiritual laws, not physical ones.  It doesn’t make sense that blessing someone would return a blessing to us in our world, but in God’s world, it makes perfect sense.

As one songwriter wrote about God’s spiritual world, “It’s the inside out, upside down world where you lose to gain and die to live.” – Misty Edwards

So start blessing people.

It not only returns rewards here, but it stores for you treasures in heaven when moth and rust do not destroy.  How can you do it?

Buy some $10 Walmart cards, pray about who to give them to and give them to strangers in need with notes of encouragement.

Do something for someone else anonymously that will cost you time and money, but will be a huge blessing to them. (Jesus says that when you do things like this in secret, God sees and will reward)

Buy a week’s worth of groceries for $30 from Angel Food Ministries and give it away to a family in need.

There are lots of ways to be a blessing to others, and when you do this, you will see that the rewards you receive can’t be measured.

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